The Pegasus Project part 2: cat and mouse

Yesterday we told you about a major international investigation the Guardian has been working on with 16 media partners. It’s about a spyware company called NSO Group which has developed a piece of software called Pegasus that, once inside your phone, can turn it into a 24-hour surveillance device without you knowing.

Michael Safi hears from the Guardian’s Stephanie Kirchgaessner about the origin story of NSO Group – an Israeli tech startup that, so the story goes, in 2010 figured out a way to remotely access mobile phones after the founder became frustrated with the tech support available to him to fix his own faulty device. From there, the company developed what is now being called a military grade cyberweapon, Pegasus.

As NSO Group grew to become one of the world’s leading private surveillance companies, it was being tracked closely by a small band of researchers. In Canada, John Scott-Railton working for Citizen Lab has been a leading figure in helping to expose abuses of Pegasus software. And more recently Amnesty International’s digital forensics lab has led the way in pioneering methods to test individual devices for traces of Pegasus infection.

The Pegasus project has been reported by Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Washington, Paul Lewis, David Pegg, Dan Sabbagh and Sam Cutler in London, Nina Lakhani in Mexico City, Shaun Walker in Budapest, Angelique Chrisafis in Paris, Martin Hodgson in New York and Michael Safi.

  • Clips from: BBC News, France 24, YouTube, Citizen Lab

In Focus - Episode 2

Composite: Getty

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